The Toolbox: Issue 3

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This article is from Issue 3 of Woodcraft Magazine.

DEWALT DC616KA 18-volt straight nailer

DeWalt Cordless Nailers

DeWalt has entered the cordless nailer arena in a big way, introducing six models into the company’s XRP line of battery-operated tools. 

The nailers offer combinations of straight or angled magazines, sequential and bump-nailing mode or sequential only, and 12/14.4-volt or 18-volt battery capacity. Each unit is well-balanced and comfortable to handle, even for prolonged use. Being battery-powered, there’s no hint of that startling blast of air familiar to users of pneumatic tools. And because these nailers use a flywheel driving system, there’s no lag from the recovery time (and no smell) common to internal-combustion nailers. The DeWalt tools are equally adept at driving nails into soft wood, hardwood, plywood and MDF.

One nailing chore I find particularly tedious is swinging a hammer overhead to install crown molding. The nailers were far less tiresome, despite weighing nearly eight times more than a typical hammer. However, if overhead work will be the primary function for this tool, you may want to opt for one of the 12/14.4-volt models; the larger unit’s extra 3/4 lb. will make its presence felt the more you hoist the nailer skyward. On the other hand, the 18-volt battery had more stamina than the lighter-weight unit.

Part of my testing procedure was to try to jam the nailer to see how difficult it was to clear the magazine. Using the DC614KA angled nailer, equipped with a 14.4-volt battery and set to bump mode, I peppered a large board with a rapid-fire volley of nails. I discharged several full clips into the wood without jamming, although this haphazard nailing method did result in several nail heads protruding above the work surface, some by as much as 3/16". At last, with the trigger still engaged and the contact tip depressed against the target, a nail did fail to shoot. Thinking the gun had finally jammed, I removed the battery and checked the magazine, but there was nothing amiss. I had simply run down the power source. All attempts to purposely jam the unit proved fruitless. 

In my tests, neither the batteries nor the tools themselves became discernibly warm, despite being subjected to more continuous use than is likely to occur normally. Each nailer was dropped several times from a height of four to five feet onto a concrete floor – with the batteries installed but, for safety, with no nails in the magazine – then reloaded. There was no visible damage of any kind and the units performed as if nothing had happened. 

Loading nails is no more difficult than refilling a desk stapler. First, for safety, remove the battery from the tool. Then pull back the spring-loaded pusher until it locks, sliding a clip of nails into the slot in the rear of the magazine (those two steps can be performed in either order) and then releasing the pusher so it rests against the last nail in line. Finally, replace the battery.

All of the nailers in the DeWalt XRP series are approximately the same size – units with straight magazines are 12" x 123/4"; the angled nailers are 121/2" x 121/2". All are just over 4" wide. Each of the 12/14.4-volt models weighs in at about 73/4 lbs., while the 18-volt models are a heftier 81/2 lbs.

Models with selectable firing between sequential and bump modes have a tiny recessed switch between the trigger and the magazine, best operated with a pinkie finger or the head of a small screwdriver. All the dual-mode models have this safety feature to prevent unintentional changing of the setting. There is also a contact trip lock-off, which can be engaged to prevent accidental firing.

Capacity for the straight models is approximately 110 nails, while angled models hold 120; both require 16-gauge nails from 11/4" to 21/2". I found almost nothing to differentiate straight from angled in feel, balance or operation. There is, however, one crucial difference: the price of nails. An informal survey of several area retailers revealed that angled nails averaged 40 percent more expensive than straight ones. Each store also carried two or three brands of straight nails, but none stocked more than a single brand of angled ones.

Besides the tool, each kit consists of two rechargeable NiCad batteries, a one-hour charger that works with all DeWalt XRP NiCad batteries from 7.2 to 18 volts, a reversible belt hook, a no-mar tip, and even a pair of safety glasses, all packaged in a heavy-duty plastic carrying case. The 12/14.4-volt kits retail at around $379, while the 18-volt kits go for around $399. For more information, visit

— Lee Gordon, West Hartford, Conn.

THE TITEBOND HIPURFORMER cordless glue gun comes with an ammo-box-style case and a sampling of glue canisters.

Titebond HiPURformer Advanced Bonding System

Titebond’s HiPURformer advanced bonding system delivers quick-setting, permanent-bonding polyurethane adhesives for wood and many other materials.

Because at first glance it looks like an old-fashioned craft-type glue gun (with all its attendant shortcomings) and because it employs caulk-like tubes, I admit that I envisioned the worst. I was pleasantly surprised! This is a professional-quality hot-melt system, scaled down for individuals and small commercial shops.

The substantial-feeling cordless gun heats as it sits in a convenient bench-top holder. No cord and 20 minutes of working time between reheating means you’re not tied down. That, plus trigger application control makes it possible to apply adhesive in tough-to-get-at areas such as up inside cabinets or over your head.

As for the adhesive, Titebond has addressed the two areas of tube products I find bothersome: “drool,” that lack of fast material shutoff once the trigger is released; and the ability to reseal the tube. I used and resealed each tube several times over a period of about two weeks with no problem. Titebond says you can save unused material up to a month. Foam-up, one bugaboo of liquid polyurethane glue, has been eliminated, although you’ll still get squeeze-out (as with any other glue) should you overdo it.

The kit comes with three canisters of adhesive. First up is WW30, a 30-second set wood-to-wood adhesive. Its fast set minimizes or eliminates the need for clamps or temporary nailing. I found this especially appealing when I made a pair of picture frames. One thing WW30 can’t do is fill gaps, so it’s important all parts fit tightly prior to assembly. 

Wood-to-wood WW60 has a 60-second set, which allows a bit more time to fine-tune. WW60 also has gap filling properties, although I don’t endorse a sloppy fit just because you can get away with it. Some of its intended uses are applying trim molding, applying window and door casings, and cabinet assembly.

The third arrow in the adhesive quiver is MP75, which stands for multipurpose, 75-second set. (A 5-minute multipurpose version is also available but wasn’t included in the kit tested).  It’s rated as good for wood bonding, but it really shines in nonporous applications like steel, ceramics, concrete, marble, melamine and PVC. Use on copper or high-copper alloys is not recommended.

To check out MP75’s versatility I glued up some trial samples, including glass to glass, glass to steel, and wood to concrete, aluminum and steel. Scientific? Hardly, but it showed me a strong, fast bond that, as the manufacturer states, greatly increases in strength from the first minutes to 24 hours and beyond.

All HiPURformer adhesives are formulated for indoor/outdoor use and are weatherproof/waterproof. Each tube puts down about 71 linear feet of a 1/16" bead.

Priced at around $100-$110 for the HiPURformer outfit plus $8-$9 for each tube of adhesive, this system could be a bit expensive for occasional woodworkers. But more serious users should find the HiPURformer’s convenience and verstility well worth it. The whole kit comes in a rugged poly ammo-box-style storage case.

To find out more, call Titebond at (800) 347-4583, or visit  

– R.B. Himes, Vienna, Ohio


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